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Special Salary Adjustment Application Deadline is May 6, 2024

Special Salary Adjustment (SSA) is a unique process whereby MEA, on behalf of members, can present relevant data and information to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to support the need for increasing the salary of a particular classification or series.  The CSC can then make a recommendation to the Mayor and City Council, who are the actual decision makers for any potential salary increase.

The justification for an SSA recommendation from the CSC is extremely narrow, and the relevant information needed is often anecdotal or directly pulled from employee observations and knowledge of both their Department and their Classification positions throughout the City.  The SSA process is the opportunity to bring forward what is seen and felt in the workplace to the Civil Service Commission to express the need to study the classification for the specific purpose of recommending the classification series for an SSA.

The Personnel Department examines every SSA that is brought forward each year and determines whether that classification will or will not be studied.  After they have determined which classifications will be studied, a team from the Personnel Department will come and analyze the classification, the work the classification is doing, and the retention or turnover numbers for that classification to determine the need for the SSA.

This analysis is not limited to one Department or Division, it is applied to the entire City.  In other words, while there may be a vacancy issue in one Department for Payroll Specialist II, for example, that doesn’t meet the threshold for an SSA for the entire classification.  There needs to be a vacancy issue for all Payroll Specialist II’s in the City.

The criteria used by the Personnel Department to determine whether an SSA is appropriate is as follows:

Significant Change in Duties and Responsibilities: This is extremely broad, and rarely is an SSA approved under this basis for adjustment.  This cannot be a change in technology, or increased workload.  Some items that would qualify under this header would be a classification supervising (responsible for the EPR and day-to-day functions) subordinates where before the classification was not a supervisory one, or some other large significant change that consumes a significant portion of your day (30%+ for example).  A change in technology is most often not a significant change in duties and responsibilities.

Inappropriate Supervisory Differential: If you supervise a classification that makes more than you per hour that may be an inappropriate supervisory differential.  Also, if the differential between you and your highest-level subordinate is significantly less than 5%, that may be an inappropriate supervisory differential.  This is only determined by base compensation.  For the SSA process, the Supervisory Differential issue is not based on add-on or certification pays.

Turnover: The Personnel Department for SSAs does not consider attrition.  Turnover is extremely narrow and defined as having a higher average turnover in 3 out of the last 5 years than the City average.  For example, if the City “average turnover” the last 5 years is 1.5% then the turnover for your classification must be a higher average (1.6%+) over that same 5 years, AND 3 of those years must be higher than the City’s total average each year.  The most relevant information for the Personnel Department is whether employees have left the City, for more money, to another municipality, and either the employee or Management have marked those reasons on the employee’s exit form.

Recruiting Problems: Recruiting problems are specific to the number of qualified individuals that put forward applications for the position that is open.  It is not based on whether the applicants are considered “Highly Qualified” “Qualified” or “Minimally Qualified” during the interview process.  If the open hiring is not getting enough applicants who meet the minimum qualifications of the position, then it is a Recruiting Problem.

Title Change: This request is made when there is not an issue of pay, but that the classification title is not appropriate to the work being done.  For example, being a “Fire Dispatcher” instead of a “Police Dispatcher” would be an appropriate request to change a title.

The City Charter provides that only labor organizations or departments may bring forward requests for SSAs, new classes and title changes to the Civil Service Commission.  Individual employee submissions to the Civil Service Commission are not allowed – employees must work through their labor organization on behalf of their entire classification and/or series.  MEA can bring forward requests for SSAs as described in the City Charter on behalf of any member.

REMINDER: Any SSA recommended by the Civil Service Commission is just a recommendation not a guarantee of any salary increase.  That is determined by the Mayor and City Council during the Negotiations process. 

If you believe that your classification has a meritorious case to be made to the Commission, here are your next steps:

Review the attached Salary Proposal Request Form and the detailed explanation of what needs to be included in each request.

Reach out to colleagues in your classification and form a team to help with the work that is involved. As the subject matter experts regarding your job, the efforts of you and your colleagues can make the difference between getting the classification studied or not.  Remember the biggest and most important step in the SSA process is getting the Personnel Department to agree to study the classification!

Compile the needed information, complete the SSA request form and return it to MEA on or before Monday, May 6, 2024.   

 Submitting a request for an SSA is not a guarantee that the request will be taken forward to the Civil Service Commission.  Requests will be vetted by MEA to determine whether or not they meet the criteria for an SSA to determine if they will move forward through this process.

 Completed request packages should be emailed to Nick Wright nwright@sdmea.org. You can also call Nick at 619-264-6632 x118 if you have any questions or need more information about the process.  MEA will only review SSA request packages received by May 6, 2024 in advance of MEA’s submission to the Personnel Department in June.

You must be willing and able to attend all SSA meetings including assisting with presenting your SSA to the Civil Service Commission if necessary.
We look forward to working with you!

SSA Example Librarian SSA Example Fire Dispatcher SSA-Submittal-Forms1